There is something endearing about the southern charm shown by athletes who make Alberta home.
Calgary Stampeder quarterback (and baseball fan) Bo Levi Mitchell’s smile and Texas drawl, combined with the team’s winning culture, have undoubtedly helped him create a persona all his own. Fellow Texan Will Hollis might be blazing a similar path of his own with the Okotoks Dawgs.
The McKinney, Texas native is in his second season with the Dawgs and is already putting up some stellar numbers. In the first 13 games of the season, he slugged six home runs, doubling his production from the entire 2018 season while hitting .417, good enough for second in the Western Canadian Baseball League in batting average. He’s hoping to duplicate his .361 effort with Okotoks from last summer.
It’s also a great follow-up to the spring the 6-foot-2, 215-pound outfielder had at Texas State University. He hit .320 with six home runs and 47 runs batted in for the Bobcats.
— TxStateBaseball (@TxStateBaseball) May 18, 2019
We caught up with Hollis after the Dawgs’ June 2nd victory over Fort McMurray, in which he hit his third home run in as many games and swiped a couple of bases as well.
And as it turns out, the latest edition of 7th Inning Stretch led to a couple of extra questions scattered throughout the discussion.
1. Let me start with this question: why do you hate baseballs so much and hit them so hard? In your first three games, you hit three home runs and they’re not just wall-scrapers. You’re hitting them quite the distance.
Yeah man! I’m just trying to play the game hard and have fun. I’m trying to stick to my approach and it’s worked out so far. It’s been a lot of fun being back here.
2. Tell me a little bit about your season at Texas and how things went down in your home state.
It was awesome. I played on a really good team with a bunch of really, really good guys. We won the conference championship regular season. It was really high-level baseball … really, really good guys to be around. The coaching staff, everybody was great. I enjoyed Texas State more than anything.
3. What brings you back to Okotoks? I mean, obviously it’s a great program with great crowds and everything, but a lot of guys who come from down south are here for one year maybe and not so sure after that. What was the appeal for you?
I think, obviously, the crowds are a big factor. It’s awesome playing in front of this many people. It gives you reason to get up and play hard. The coaching staff, to the guys I played with last year, everybody’s just amazing. I loved every second of it last summer so I figured if I got another chance, why not?
READ MORE: Okotoks Dawgs Season Preview
4. What’s working for you early in the season? Not only do you have the home runs but you had the key RBI to win the game at the end there. What are you seeing at the plate?
I think it’s just trying to stay simple, try to keep things short and stick to my approach and try not to do too much. I’m just trying to help the team win any way I can.
5. When you were in Texas, were you DHing mostly or were you playing the infield as well?
First half of the year, I played left field a lot and kind of tweaked my groin a little bit and ended up DHing the rest of the year. I’m still coming back from that. Once I get healthy, maybe you’ll see me in the outfield again.
— TxStateBaseball (@TxStateBaseball) April 30, 2019
6. We have a couple of “get to know you” type of questions. First off, you guys do a lot of traveling. What’s your go-to movie, book, TV show, or video game when you’re riding the bus?
That’s a tough one. “Game of Thrones” was always really, really big.
What did you think of the end of the show?
The end? I can’t really fault them for making that ending, because you can’t do too much with all the stuff that’s happened. But I mean, I love it. I loved the series for, what was it, eight years or so. Yeah. I’d say “Game of Thrones” for sure.
7. The other question: what piece of equipment between glove or bat, are you most likely to pamper or take good care of?
Honestly, probably a bat. I get a little nervous sometimes. I’m like, “Man, I hope I don’t break this bat. I love this thing!” But yeah, I like to treat the bats well.
And what kind of bat do you like?
I like mine kind of in the middle. I like a balanced bat with a bigger barrel. The one I really like is CB15, which is Carlos Beltran, one of the greats of all time. I like swinging that and it’s the one I’ve got right now.